Murphy beds date back to the beginning of the 20th century, and they were certainly much more popular in your grandparents’ (or great-grandparents’) day than they are now. However, these fold-up beds which pull down from the wall – and tuck back into position when not in use – are still a great space saver for small bedrooms and apartments.
If you’re in search of a “real” Murphy bed, chances are that you’ll have to hire a cabinetmaker or carpenter to put one in for you. You can’t just hack a hole in the wall and attach your mattress with some hinges. However, there are many great alternatives available that are almost the same as an old-fashioned, built-in Murphy bed. They have an iron or wooden bed tray that mounts flush to the wall and contains the fold-down mattress.
Most of these modern Murphy beds work with sophisticated dual-piston or spring-carriage systems, so the mattress and frame can be pulled down or put away with just one hand. They’re available in all sizes from double to king, with inexpensive models manufactured primarily from pressed wood, and more-expensive beds available in a number of quality hardwoods which will match a room’s design and furnishings.
Even better, there are some ingenious combinations of furniture based on Murphy beds. One of the most popular is the Murphy bed with desk; an integral workstation is built right onto the face of the unit, to be used during the day while the bed is folded into the wall. At night when the mattress is pulled down, the desk automatically folds safely underneath the bed frame. It’s an ideal way to save as much space as possible.
Some companies have gone further, adding bookshelves or drawers to the Murphy bed frame, or in the most imaginative use of the technology, creating a complete desk and flat screen mounting system built into the face of the bed – which completely disappears when the mattress is pulled down. Needless to say, these extravagant Murphy beds with desks are extremely pricey.